Bringing Reason to the Atrocity of Abortion!
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I have been asked what my background is in the pro-life/anti-abortion movement. I figured I should write that up and put it up here so that it is "official". If anyone wants to know, you can read below. I do not put up this description up with pride. On the contrary, I am woefully ashamed of the tiny effort that I have made over the years while thousands and millions of my fellow beings have been slaughtered in abortion chambers. This amounts to a confession of how I have done precious little while such atrocity has taken place.
I was brought up in a fundamentalist Christian background. Coming from such, some might expect that I grew up with a negative view of abortion. While it is true that I have never been in support of abortion, during my early years, up until I turned away from my religious beliefs in my mid-to-late 20s, I never really had much of anything to say at all about abortion. When Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973, making abortion effectively legal throughout the U.S., I was a freshman in high school. Other than anything that we might have covered in school in regards to current events, I knew nothing about what was going on in the world. I never watched or read the news. I don't remember ever hearing anything about abortion from any source prior to graduating from high school.
I went to college (a Christian school) for one year after I graduated from high school. I had a girlfriend for a short time during that year, and one day she asked me what my opinion was on the subject of abortion. To my recollection, this was the first time anyone had ever asked or said anything to me about the subject. I told her that I supposed that I was against abortion, but that I had no way of knowing for sure when a person's life begins. Her response was, "Well, I hope you are against abortion!"
I got married at 20 and divorced at 26. I also moved away from my religious beliefs at about the same time that I got divorced. At that time, to the best of my recollection, the only time I had ever thought about or addressed the issue of abortion was that one time back in college talking to my girlfriend.
After I got divorced, and not wishing to follow my religious upbringing, I was "searching" for what to do with my life. One evening I happened to pick up the local paper, and in the "Goings On" section of the paper it listed a meeting of the local Right to Life group. I was divorced in September of 1984, so this was probably somewhere around the end of 1984 or early 1985. I said to myself, "Well, I guess I agree with them. Maybe I should go and check them out," so I called the number in listing. The woman I spoke with on the phone seemed to be very hesitant to speak to me at first. After a minute she asked me directly if I opposed abortion, and I responded that I did. After that she relaxed and talked to me more freely, explaining that she got nervous when men called, because most of the men who called were pro-abortion and would be angry or difficult over the phone.
Anyway, I started going to the monthly meetings of the Brunswick, Maine Right to Life group. I started reading more about the subject, including their literature, as well as anything that I could find from the other side. Although I thought that I agreed with them, I wanted to be sure, so I looked at everything with a skeptical eye, trying to make my mind up solidly on the subject. You might think that seeing pictures of dead babies with their arms and legs ripped off from their bodies, their skulls crushed, etc. would have been clear enough, but I wanted to be sure. I sought out literature and information at the library or wherever I could find it from the pro-abortion perspective. It seems like I wasn't able to find much, but that was a long time ago. As best I recall, I ended up just sort of "throwing up my arms" and saying, "Well, they sure look like dead (or living) babies. I can't seem to find anything from the pro-abortion side that actually gives any factual information to refute it. So I guess the anti-abortionists are right!" So I was a "confirmed" anti-abortionist/pro-lifer after that. (To this day I am waiting for a pro-abortionist to provide me with such information. Perhaps someday they will do so and I will reconsider my stand.)
My activities with the Right to Life group were minimal, although I did meet a woman during that time who I found out was planning on having an abortion. When I found out, I told the RTL group about it, and they gave me lots of literature and information so that I could try to talk her out of it. They said this was their first actual "case", and they were very interested in trying to prevent the abortion. I don't recall if I ever actually showed any of that literature to the woman. I spoke to her, but I was not one to be "pushy". (I do NOT like confrontation!) I would only show it to her if she wanted to see it, and, if my memory serves me correctly, she did not, so I am thinking that I never actually did. Today I would do better (I would hope). Also, I believe that that was still at the very beginning of my association with the group, when I was still trying to make up my own mind for sure regarding the matter, so I didn't particularly "have it together" yet. (At least that's my excuse.)
One thing I remember at the group was that I was talking to the leader on day, and after she saw that I really did care about abortion, she said, "I think you're still a Christian." This made me rather uncomfortable, but I tried to be gracious. I was still "searching" when it came to religious beliefs, but did not consider myself a Christian. I wasn't necessarily an atheist yet, but I felt that the beliefs that I had grown up with, Christianity, were just not true. Moreover, I did not want to be thought of as believing such things any more, and when people would take religious stands in relation to abortion it made me uncomfortable, which was probably the reason that I did not stay with the group for a very extended period of time. I think it was just a year or so of involvement.
My involvement in abortion-related activities or efforts were very limited, I am ashamed to say, and I don't remember a whole lot else during the time that I lived in that area of Maine where I grew up. I do remember taking an abortion-related petition to the shipyard where I worked to try to get signatures. I recall one woman saying, "I know it's almost like killing a baby, but I don't agree with making it illegal." I remember one fellow that I didn't ask to sign, and didn't think that he would be interested, saying, "Give me that thing so that I can sign it!" Then there was the "sensitive and sympathetic" fellow who, when I asked him if he would sign, said, "Oh, no. I say, 'Rape 'em and scrape 'em'." So much for pro-abortionists who actually care about women!
I remember that I did go to Portland (Maine) to picket the abortion clinic at one point. Actually, and the strange thing is, I don't actually remember the clinic itself or the actual picketing! The thing I remember is the sign that I made and kept afterwards in my shed which read "Mother, Please don't kill your baby!" It is strange how the mind and memory works, or doesn't work – at least mine.
I did at least talk some about abortion with the girlfriends that I dated. Some opposed abortion and some supported it, although I don't think I ever actually found out this point until after I had slept with them. I shudder to think what might have happened if a pro-abortion girlfriend had actually gotten pregnant. My luck held, however, and I never had to deal with that issue.
I also remember going to work one day, after I had quit the shipyard job and was working as a carpenter, wearing a t-shirt with an anti-abortion logo on it. When the boss, who was pro-abortion saw it, he asked me, "So does this mean you are against abortion?"
I responded, "Yes, that is exactly what it means."
His immediate response was, "So is this because of religious beliefs?"
I wanted to punch him! I was pretty well beyond the "searching" stage by that point, and really didn't want anything more to do with religion, and certainly didn't to be associated with religion. I guess I should be thankful that he at least asked, rather than just making assumptions. I told him, "No. I don't have any religion."
This particular boss liked to have interesting discussions. He had actually been a medical doctor before becoming a carpenter/builder, and some time thereafter did return to the medical profession. Some of our discussions touched on the subject of abortion. Somehow, however, they never seemed to really get to the heart of the matter. I guess I just wasn't very good at getting the message across.
When I started having back problems I decided to go back to college and get a degree, so that I could get into both a more interesting and less physical line of work. . I decided that I wanted to get into the environmental field. I moved to the area of Maine where the main campus of the University of Maine is, in Orono. While I was there I studied ... and I studied! I liked to think that I was a bright boy, and other people had suggested that that was true, but I found school to be more than a challenge. Frankly, it was hell! All I did was study all the time, trying to get that stuff through my thick skull so I could pass my courses. Never mind actually understanding anything -- I just had to get through it! Other than getting out to weekly folk dancing, studying was all I did. I really didn't have any kind of life, and no time to devote toward saving dying children. About the only thing that I remember that I did do in regards to abortion centered around an event that took place in the main union building at the university. I went in one day and there was a table set up by Right to Life. I don't remember the specific occasion, but there were tables set up by numerous other groups about various other issues. The difference between the Right to Life table and the other tables was that, at least at one point during the day, there was a groups of students loudly protesting against the Right to Life table. I don't recall just what they said -- probably things like "Choice", "Every child a wanted child," and "We will not go back" -- but I remember standing there listening to them carry on while the Right to Life people remained quietly at their table. I tried to think of something that I might say that would help bring some sanity to the situation, but I couldn't think of anything, so I just remained silent off to the side. Of course, there was probably nothing that I could have said that would have made any difference to those who were protesting. I guess I should have at least just walked over and stood beside the people at the table and offered some moral support, but I don't recall even doing that. The one thing that I did do was write a letter to the student newspaper (one of the two that I wrote during the time that I was a student there, the other one being about the horrible amount of food that students wasted in the dining commons), decrying the outburst that I had witnessed and inviting students at the university to have a rational and respectful conversation about abortion. No one responded.
Two other abortion-related things I remember from the time that I was there. I used to wear my "Precious Feet" pin (depicting the feet of a 10-week-old, preborn human being) and, of course, would explain what it meant when anyone asked. One woman in the folk dance group that I was quite good friends with spoke to me one day and said that she respected me for wearing the pin, but that she could not dance with me while I was wearing it. She didn't directly say that she had had an abortion, and I did not ask. I just accepted her statement. Another friend of ours spoke to me once after that on the woman's behalf and told me that she didn't think I should "throw it in her face" because she had had an abortion. I don’t remember my response, but I assume that I just said to her something to the effect that I felt bad for the woman involved, but I had to get the message out to people so we could stop killing children.
The other thing that I remember was going to an event at a church or chapel that was associated with the university and seeing a bumper sticker on a car that I presumed to belong to the pastor of the church, with a pro-abortion message on it. I never actually met this pastor (who was a woman) and never verified that the car was indeed hers. Sometime after that I was speaking to another friend of mine, who was involved with that church and was good friends with the pastor, and who informed me that this pastor had been involved in a traffic accident and killed. When she did so, I immediately thought of that bumper sticker and experienced a mix of emotions. While I would normally respond with sympathy to such news, in this case the thought of this person promoting the killing of little children was enough to "cancel" my sympathetic feelings. (Actually, they weren't cancelled. There was a great tug-of-war going on inside me at that moment, and I just couldn't decide who was the "winner".) Seeing my lack of emotional reaction, my friend then responded, "Well, I guess you really have to know the person."
I thought about this for a while after that. I'm sure that my friend, in spite of her statement, thought that I was very unsympathetic. I don't think she changed her opinion of me and started thinking that I was just a cold, uncaring person -- at least I hope not. But that is what abortion does. When you start killing people, it just makes it difficult to function emotionally in an appropriate way. If I had lived in Nazi Germany and had seen a car with a bumper sticker saying "Exterminate the Jews" on the car of someone that I otherwise loved and admired, how would I have responded?
Disgusted with the "education" that I was getting, and various other things as well, I left Maine and travelled around the country, eventually resettling in the Boulder, Colorado area with the intention of finishing my education and getting on with my life. I had to spend the first year establishing residency so I could go back to school as a resident student. I spent my time and effort trying to start a business, which failed. I then went back to school and was once again in the same boat. All I did was study, study, study, and didn't seem to have any time for helping those who were dying.
I remember two abortion-related things during this period. I don't remember ever finding out about any Right to Life or other abortion-activist group in the area, but I did at one point find out that Birthright was having a meeting, and so I decided to attend. However, when I got there and started listening, I was outraged. The meeting was an all-out religious church meeting with people preaching, praising God, and getting all excited about religion -- to the extent that I don't even recall if they said anything about abortion at all! I was flabbergasted. Here I wanted to do something about abortion, and pulled time out from the studies that I was struggling like hell to keep up with, and these people just seemed to want to have a church meeting. I left after a short while and wanted nothing more to do with that group.
This association with religion was not only enough to drive me away from groups such as this one, but it was clear to me that it was doing great harm to the cause of the preborn. I found myself angry at these people who put their religious beliefs and goals first, before their concern for the plight of those who were dying. Even though I had, myself, come from a fundamentalist Christian background, now that I understood that people were being ruthlessly and brutally killed, I felt that we needed to put our religious beliefs aside and deal with the real world. I knew that the rest of the world was going to feel much like I was feeling. They didn't want people shoving their religious beliefs on them. Indeed, if abortion was a religious matter, then I would have taken the pro-abortion stand that you can't shove your religious beliefs on me and make me follow them. If it was a religious thing, then I would have been solidly pro-abortion!
The other thing that happened while I was in Boulder was that I contact Dr. Warren Hern, a well-known abortionist who has his office in Boulder. I sent him a letter asking if he would just point me to anything that he has said or written that would explain his justification for doing what he does. He ignored my first letter, but, after I had written a few times, a large manila envelope came one day in the mail from his office. I opened it to find a reprint of an article that he had written, "Life on the Front Lines" (Women's Health Issues 4(1):48-54, 1994). The thing is, the article did not answer my question. It did not in any way give a rationalization for how he could kill that developing human being in the womb. It basically said, "Poor me! I have been struggling to help all these women and have been attacked by those anti-abortionists all these years! How I have suffered for the good of women. Poor me! Poor me!" The only thing the article did in terms of addressing my question was refer to anti-abortion claims that abortion kills babies, and then say "which it does not", but gave absolutely no basis for how he arrived at the conclusion that it did not, which was, of course, what I was looking for.
The document did, however, have a bibliography at the end of it -- apparently, all of the articles that Dr. Hern had ever written (at least up to the time of that article). There were a lot of them, about 50 or 60; he is a fairly prolific writer. Determined to find what Mr. Hern had written that would explain his position that "it does not" kill babies, I searched down through this list. These were articles that were written in official medical and academic journals, and, if you are familiar with such journals, you know that the titles of such articles are quite specific and describe directly just what the article is about, so you can just look at the titles and know quite well what they are about. I went down through this list to see if there was any article that might possibly give an explanation or justification for doing abortions. There was only one article on the list whose title suggested that it might possibly do so. I went and looked this article up in the library. It didn't. So, here was a man who had been performing abortions for many years, was in the forefront of the abortion battle, and had written many articles about the subject, and yet he had never in his life written anything that would justify or explain his claim that "it does not" kill babies. If such a man had never done so, then can there be any other reason than that he simply is not able to?
At any rate, as you can see, the extent of my activism was essentially zero during these few years, and when I finished my studies and got my degree I left Colorado with the intent of moving to Oregon, but ended up going home to Maine for a year or two.
In Maine, I dealt with increasing disability (i.e., pain) issues and did not get involved in any kind of abortion-related activity. Eventually I did manage to get and hold down a job. After working for about a year and saving up some money I moved out to Oregon. I ended up settling in Eugene, but was experiencing even worse disability problems and was unable to work. I did do a fair amount of reading, and while I have lived here in Eugene (for the last 13 years) I have read quite a number of books on abortion, mostly from the pro-abortion point of view. (That is, after all, the viewpoint that I am having trouble understanding. I don't really need to read to understand the anti-abortion point of view). I also tried to get involved in real estate investing during these years, and that took up most of my time and effort. I still needed to get myself on a stable financial ground, but failed to do so.
Wanting to do something about abortion, I decided to make another attempt to get involved with Right to Life now that I was in Eugene. Their first meeting that I went to started out with Bible reading and prayer. I "bit my lip" while this was going on. Toward the end of the meeting I told the people present that I would not be able to be a part of their group if they were going to operate on a religious basis. (Right to Life is supposedly a non-religious organization.) I was actually, and quite pleasantly, surprised when they agreed to discontinue the prayer and Bible reading, and I continued to attend their meetings and get involved for probably a couple years or so. Once again, my "activism" was minimal. The group essentially did two events each year: the annual Roe v. Wade commemoration in January, and a table at the county fair in August. I felt the need to do more, but didn't suggest much to the group. First of all, I was still trying to be a "learner". I felt that my lack of experience did not qualify me to take a leadership position, so I kept a "low profile". Secondly, even though the group had agreed to dispense with prayer and Bible reading at their meetings, there was still a fairly strong religious emphasis, and I felt that if I tried to do anything more, such as try to get them to picket abortion clinics, that they would be doing so with a religious emphasis (as many of their signs did during the January march and rally). The "religious thing" kept me from being more active with the group or pushing them to do more. That may sound like an excuse, but it is very real. (If any Christian is reading this and thinking that it is just an excuse, then just think about how you would react if you were trying to get involved in such an effort and the people were constantly praying to Allah or displaying pictures of Krishna and Shiva, or perhaps even symbols of astrology or the occult.) So, once again, my involvement with the existing group was limited.
After that I "floundered", in more ways than one. My real estate efforts didn't pan out, but I was essentially unable to work at any kind of regular job, so I floundered financially and just in terms of surviving. I also floundered in terms of abortion activism. Every day that went by I would think of another 3000 dead babies, but what could I do about it? I could stand in front of the abortion clinic and hold a sign, but I knew of only one other person doing this (from the RTL group), and I just didn't think that two people holding protest signs in front of a clinic would do much good, and actually would probably do harm by serving to convince people that abortion protesters were just a few "weirdos", and that would just hurt the cause rather than help.
At one point while I was still attending the RTL meetings someone told of a planned protest of a meeting of Planned Parenthood. They planned to protest using "graphic" signs depicting abortion. When I heard about this I got rather excited and was thankful that people were planning on actually doing something. Quite a few people did show up at that event, and it was great to be involved in actually "doing something" about abortion. However, it was just one event, and that was that. There were no plans that I know of to do anything similar again. When I tried at a later time to find out who had organized that event and try to get them to do more, I could not even figure out who was the organizer. I wish I had made more inquiry when we were actually at the event, but I had "dropped the ball".
After my real estate "flop" I had the idea of creating a website in order to make some money, so I took about a year to study web design (on my own), and finally managed to create a dating site that I hoped would make some money. This also "flopped". The site went up, and is still up, but it is inactive. I was never able to get it moving. However, since I had learned how to design a web site, I figured I would at least go ahead and create one that dealt with the most important issue that we face, so I created AbortionReason.com in hopes that it might at least be of some value to the cause. Shortly after creating the site I created a directory of organizations that are fighting abortion, primarily so that others who wished to get involved in the fight would at least know what organizations were around their area that they could get involved with. (Actually, I created the directory before I created the AbortionReason.com site. I created it at my "practice" site, wardricker.com, and then created AbortionReason.com to hold the directory and any other abortion-related material I wanted to put up.)
I still wasn't doing much about abortion. Every day I was vexed over the thought that thousands more innocent children had simply been ripped to pieces, and yet what was I doing? I did find out that there actually were some people who were protesting in front of abortion clinics in the Eugene area. When I found this out I joined them, but only to find that their numbers were very small. There were only two or three out to any event. I wanted to increase these numbers, so I created an email list of anyone interested and started sending out monthly emails with notice of all the protests that were planned for the month. Unfortunately the numbers haven't grown. I did finally suggest that we have some more protests using signs that depict abortions. Interest was low, but I have managed to get a few people together. We purchased some signs, and, as of this writing, December 2013, we have done one such demonstration with our news signs. We will see how this effort progresses.
Toward the end of 2012 I was thinking about the fact that International Human Rights Day was coming up. There is no greater human rights problem on earth, of course, than the killing of thousands of innocent young human beings every day just because someone doesn't want them and they are still young enough to be living inside their mothers' wombs. So it just "hit me" that we need an effort (a campaign, or whatever you might want to call it) that is specifically centered around human rights, since that is exactly what type of issue abortion is, and Human Rights Day is exactly the right time to start such an effort. I started off by getting a page together that identified so-called "human rights" groups that do not stand against the greatest human rights abuse of all. I decided that we need to stand up and counter this. No longer can we just let the pro-abortionists claim the "human rights" title. So I tried to get as many people as possible to agree to contact these groups and challenge them, especially those groups that are audacious enough to actually promote killing in the name of human rights. That was the fast and furious effort that I put together in the week or so prior to Human Rights Day. Then I started the "other half" of the effort – getting those organizations who oppose abortion to take their rightful stand as the true human rights organizations, in particular, by standing up on Human Rights Day the following year (2013) and claiming that ground, and thereby helping people to see that it is opposition to abortion that is the true human rights stand.
However, enough "advertising" for the Human Rights For All Ages Campaign. The purpose of this page is just to explain my history in this movement, and to express my shame at how very little I have done. However, now that I have a "platform" on which I can operate, I plan on pressing hard on this battle. If you are reading this, please hold me to the task!